Recent heavy snow and rain in Manitoba have made excavations and trenches very unstable due to soil saturation. When working on excavations, CSAM reminds contractors to have an emergency plan in place in the event the excavation floods or collapses.
Depending on the condition or location of the site, water hazards may be present.
An excavation may flood if the work is below the water table, near a watercourse bank, or exposed to adverse weather conditions. When there is risk of flooding, an emergency evacuation plan must be developed. The plan will include a full body harness with a lifeline that meets the requirements of Workplace Safety and Health Regulation Part 14; 26.7; and 26.9.
Water accumulation must be kept to a minimum to reduce risks such as slipping or tripping hazards, electrical hazards, equipment malfunctions or others:
- Pumps should be available in the event of flooding.
- Soil piles should be placed further away from the edge (two to three metres) until the soil saturation levels stabilize.
- Keep powered mobile equipment away from the edge of the excavation.
- Ensure the site is watched continuously, with special attention to excavation walls.
- Trench work may require shoring — even if the trench is not deeper than 1.5 metres — due to soil saturation.
- Ensure emergency evacuation plan addresses egress from the excavation.
If you have any questions or would like any additional resources or consultation for the hazards on YOUR jobsite, speak to a CSAM safety advisor. Call 204-775-3171 in Winnipeg or 204-728-3456 in Brandon.